A 2WD Hybrid-Electric Motorcycle for the US Military?

In the coming years, US special forces may be riding a tw0-wheel drive, hybrid-electric, multi-fuel motorcycle co-developed by BRD Motorcycles and Logos Technologies. Helping make this project possible is a Small Business Innovation Research grant from DARPA. The goal is to make a single-track vehicle for US expeditionary and special forces that will be nearly silent in operation, yet also capable of traveling long distances. Details on the proposed machine are light, of course, but it sounds like the 2WD dirt bike will be based off the BRD RedShift MX (shown above), and use an electric drivetrain, as well as a multi-fuel internal combustion engine to achieve its goals.

Colin Edwards Will Retire from Racing after 2014 Season

Announcing his decision during the pre-event press conference for the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas, Colin Edwards told the assembled press that 2014 would be the Texan’s last season racing a motorcycle. Citing a lack of improvement on his performance in pre-season testing and at the Qatar GP, Edwards decision perhaps answers the lingering question in the paddock of when the American rider would hang-up his spurs after an illustrious career in AMA, WSBK and MotoGP. Talking about his inability to come to terms with the Forward Yamaha, which Aleix Espargaro was able to take to the front of the pack in Qatar, Edwards was at a loss when it came to understanding the Open Class machine and his lack of results.

MSF Updates Its Basic RiderCourse Curriculum

It is no surprise that statistics from the NHTSA show that motorcycle accidents and injuries are on the rise. According to the 2012 Motor Vehicle Crash report published by the NHTSA, motorcycle fatalities for that year rose to 4,957, up seven percent from 2011, while injuries increased 15% to 93,000. While the NHTSA statistics are misleading because the motorcycle category includes mopeds, scooters, three-wheelers, pocket bikes, mini bikes, and off-road vehicles, new riders need every advantage they can afford. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation has taken notice of these statistics and has revised the curriculum for its Basic RiderCourse to include a new Basic eCourse, which students will take prior to in-person instruction.

Yamaha Trademarks “R1S” & “R1M” at USPTO – “YZF-R1M” Trademarked Abroad – But Why?

Are new Yamaha YZF-R1 models coming down the pipe? That’s the question being asked after trademark filings in the US and abroad tipped off Yamaha Motor’s intention to use “R1S”, “R1M”, and “YZF-R1M” for motorcycle, scooter, and three-wheeled purposes. The filings are being taken as hints towards a possible multiple trim levels of the Yamaha YZF-R1 superbike, with the “S” and “M” designations being different spec machines than the current base model. The “S” nomenclature is a popular one in the two and four-wheeled world, though “M” would certainly be a novel designation, outside of say…BMW.

Bell & COTA Create Texas-Themed Limited-Edition Helmet

Continuing its theme of making limited-edition helmets for premier-class US rounds, Bell Helmets has teamed up with the Circuit of the Americas and Chris Wood, of Airtrix, to create a Texas-themed Bell Star Carbon helmet, just in time for COTA’s MotoGP race next weekend. Available only until April 13th, the Bell/COTA helmet features a red, white, and blue flag motif on the front, with both the American and State of Texas flags visible, which then wrap around the rear to merge with a hardwood design, reminiscent of the floorboards in a Western saloon. The helmet is also crowned with a Longhorn cattle skull, which adds to the Texan motif. The specially designed helmet also features a horseshoe, the COTA logo, and the 2014 Red Bull MotoGP of The Americas logo.

Aprilia Mounting a Return to MotoGP in 2016

Towards the end of the 800cc era, MotoGP looked to be in dire condition. Grids were dwindling, factories were reducing their participation, and teams were in difficult financial straits indeed. By the end of 2011, there were just 17 full time entries, Suzuki was down to a single rider, and were about to pull out entirely for 2012. How different the situation looks today. In a recent interview with the official MotoGP.com website, Aprilia Corse’s new boss Romano Albesiano gave a brief outline of their plans. The Italian factory will continue to work with the IODA Racing team for 2014 to collect data on the electronics and tires, which they will use as input on an entirely new project being worked on for 2016.

This Is Pretty Much What the Monster 800 Will Look Like

With the advent of the Ducati Monster 1200, it was only a matter of time before Ducati’s middleweight liquid-cooled “Monster 800″ would be spotted, and unsurprisingly the machines have a great deal in common. The one big difference seems to be that the 821cc Monster gets a double-sided swingarm, which has become Ducati’s new way of differentiating between its big and medium displacement models of the same machine, see entry for Ducati 899 Panigale. With the spied Ducati Monster 800 looking ready for primetime, and a pre-fall launch isn’t out of the question. Giving us an excellent glimpse into what the Ducati Monster 800 would look like, Luca Bar has again used his Photoshop skills to render up images of the still unreleased “baby” Monster.

Photos of the Mugen Shinden Ni sans Fairings

Given the competitive nature of the electric racing realm, its rare to see the big high-power bikes without their fairings, as teams are reluctant to reveal their secret sauce. Debuting the Mugen Shinden San this past weekend in Tokyo though, Team Mugen did just that, giving us a glimpse into the inner workings of the team’s 2013 race bike, the Mugen Shinden Ni. You don’t have to be an electron-head to get excited by these photos, as any race bike with a carbon fiber frame and swingarm is pretty drool-worthy, though the Shinden Ni’s carbon fiber battery enclosure does hide a great deal of the electric superbike’s geek factor. While the sheer size of the battery bike is impressive, it was expected when the Shinden was first announced.

Mugen Shinden San (神電 参) Electric Superbike Revealed

Mugen’s third purpose-built electric superbike for the Isle of Man TT, the Mugen Shinden San, has been revealed in Japan. Campaigning two machines for this year’s TT Zero race, Mugen has John McGuiness and Bruce Anstey at the helm of its “Shinden San” bikes, as the duo looks for a one-two finish in this year’s race. With MotoCzysz not racing at the Isle of Man this year, Mugen is a hot favorite to take the top podium spots, as well as crack the 110 mph barrier for electrics on the historic Snaefell Mountain Course (Mugen is targeting a 115 mph lap). An evolution on the company’s previous designs, the Shinden San fits 134hp — 10hp more than last year, thanks to a new smaller three-phase brushless motor provided by Mission Motors — into its 529lbs bulk.

Trackside Tuesday: The Winning Personality of Jack Miller

Chatting with a couple of NASCAR fans recently, I was reminded that any competition is boring if you don’t care who wins. But if you do care, then even cars driving around in circles can be very compelling entertainment. Those NASCAR fans really cared about how their favorite drivers finished, and not only how they finished in the latest race, but what and how those drivers were doing off the track as well. Those fans had been captured by the personalities of those drivers. One of the things NASCAR does well is sell personalities. All major sports-related businesses do this to some extent, but some organizations do it better than others.

Zero Motorcycles Commences 2012 Model Line Production

01/27/2012 @ 4:38 pm, by Jensen Beeler27 COMMENTS

Zero Motorcycles Commences 2012 Model Line Production 2012 Zero Motorcycles Production 635x433

Zero Motorcycles has announced the full-commencement of production for its 2012 model line, which is expected to hit dealers in February & March of this year. First off the line was the 2012 Zero DS back in December, though the electric motorcycle company has recently started building the Zero S, Zero XU, Zero X, and Zero MX at its Scotts Valley facility as well. A story we broke back in November, Zero Motorcycles debuted its important 2012 electric motorcycle line up at the 2011 EICMA show in Milan, with the 2012 range being a substantial improvement upon the company’s previous offerings.

Boasting 6kWh & 9kWh battery packs, the 2012 Zeros have nearly double the available energy on board, with the styling and performance aspects of the bikes have been improved upon as well. Zero claims that the street-focused Zero S can hit up to 114 miles on that 9kWh pack (and also does a top speed of 88 mph on its new motor), making it more practical for the urban commuter. For 2012, all of Zero’s street models feature new brushless motors, and include regenerative braking, which charges the motorcycle’s batteries during deceleration.

“It’s an amazing feeling to watch the fruition of so much hard work and effort as it comes into being and becomes something that is so special and unique,” said Scot Harden, Vice President of Global Marketing for Zero Motorcycles. “We are very proud of our dedicated team at Zero Motorcycles. Without their passion and dedication to building the very best electric motorcycle, we wouldn’t be in the position we are today. The progress being made is phenomenal, every model in the lineup goes faster, further and is more fun than ever before.”

This news also means that A&R can theoretically pick up a Zero S from the company’s Scotts Valley HQ, and make it back to our Oakland office on a single charge (a 76.7 mile trip according to Google). This is a claim we hope to test in the near future, stay tuned for our “Living with an EV” series.

2012 Zero DS:
Zero Motorcycles Commences 2012 Model Line Production 2012 Zero DS 635x453

2012 Zero MX:
Zero Motorcycles Commences 2012 Model Line Production 2012 Zero MX 635x453

2012 Zero S:
Zero Motorcycles Commences 2012 Model Line Production 2012 Zero S 635x453

2012 Zero X:
Zero Motorcycles Commences 2012 Model Line Production 2012 Zero X 635x453

2012 Zero XU:
Zero Motorcycles Commences 2012 Model Line Production 2012 Zero XU 635x453

Source: Zero Motorcycles

Comment:

  1. Bill says:

    Still look like ass

  2. Keith says:

    FINALLY they start using brushless motors and regenerative braking…both have been around since before my parents were born. Now if ONLY the battery and battery charging would catch up.

  3. Spiffster says:

    Was gonna buy one until Bill said it looks like ass… oh wait, why would I care what a 12 year old with nothing constructive to say thinks. ;) I think Zero has done a great job with their latest offerings… why criticize them? if you dont like supermoto style bikes, perhaps you should consider keeping pointless comments to yourself…

  4. Hodgmo says:

    These bikes at least look like much more serious product than what has been offered in the past from Zero. There’s evidence of real progress here and that make me believe they are a for-real motorcycle company. I am waiting for a performance test review article.

  5. Sporty4Life says:

    SO agree with Spiffster — “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” To do otherwise is being ‘racist’ (eg., intolerant to other breeds). If Bill’s thing is Lambrettas, I’m perfectly fine with that and I support him!

  6. Zero Motorcycles Commences 2012 Model Line Production – http://t.co/FD2G8rX9 #motorcycle

  7. Rolf says:

    The Zero S would make a perfect commuter bike for me. Glad to see that the range and speed is improving on these bikes. But for the weekend trips, I’ll hold on to my noisy smelly and incredibly good looking Triumph Speed Triple :-)

  8. Thinks are looking up for electric motorcycles http://t.co/UgmTG2Yy Not my cup of tea, yet.

  9. Tessier says:

    Apparently Bill got spiffster and sports panties in a bunch. I agree Bill they look down right horrible. It’s time to scrap the mountain bike heritage of the old bikes and build a real motorcycle based street bike, ya know kind of like what Brammo finally ended up doing with the Empulse. While were at it what’s with that massive real sprocket? How long do you think that thing is gonna last on the trail?

  10. RGR says:

    I think the DS and S models look great for their respective classes. I agree the MX, X and XU are kind of ugly but to each his own. It’s good to see the technology progressing and becoming more realistic for people to use. Unfortunately my style of riding precludes the current technology from being useful but I’m sure it’s on the horizon. Once they make an electric sport-tourer/sportbike/canyon carver with a 500 mile range, I’m in!

  11. Spiffster says:

    Tessier (Bill), Zero currently makes supermoto and dirt bikes, they are not a one size fits all for absolutely everyone. Zero started with MX bikes, and they do quite well for their intended purpose. When you cross MX with street bikes you get supermoto / DS, like the S/DS/XU etc. Thank god there are other companies out there that make different style bikes. You should go check them out!

    BTW the Brammo Empulse is a very different bike, sure they both run on batteries, but that’s where the similarities end. The Zeros fall under a different category. People that like the Empulse probably arent in the market for a Zero DS or even an S, and certainly not an XU. They dont compete directly, get it? Probably not, but you cant say I didnt try.

  12. WetMan says:

    Someone should force these electrical bike/car manufacturers to provide clear explanations.
    Sure it can do 88 mph and sure it can do 111 miles. But how many miles can it do at 88 mph? Assuming you need 15 kW to go 88 mph and the bike has an overall engine eficiency of 40% (which is a lot!), this thing can run 14 min at top speed. So 20 miles. No, guys you won’t make it to the office at that speed.

  13. Spiffster says:

    Hey WetMan, lookup EPA UDDS the standard Zero uses for their claims. There is no need to force them to provide clear standardized specs, they already do:
    http://www.zeromotorcycles.com/zero-s/specs.php
    Brushless DC electric motor efficiency is more like 80-95%
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_motor
    88mph is the top speed, sustained is 75mph. A big improvement over last years S. Need something faster? Just wait for the Empulse or next years S if your into supermoto bikes.

  14. bill says:

    A lot better looking overall than where they came from.

    Great advancements in tech as well. Not sure about that chin part reaching back…..

  15. Zero electric motorcycles start production. Great city bikes! http://t.co/qD6ESBHz

  16. digfoto says:

    It’s all about batteries. No the ones made today, but what’s forthcoming.

  17. Bill says:

    The original Bill still thinks it looks like ass.

  18. digfoto says:

    I agree with ya Bill. Seeing them in person last weekend in NYC confirmed that in my mind.

  19. Not Bill says:

    The Asphalt and Rubber commenting system allows the “original” Bill to agree with himself, using different usernames. How clever!

  20. Bill says:

    There is a damage control “bill” (easily identified by the lowercase ‘b’) Would the real Bill, please stand up.
    **** that bike looks like ass.

  21. Damo says:

    I actually think the Zero DS looks pretty fit. Kinda looks like a smaller, electric Dorsoduro.

  22. Westward says:

    @ Rolf, RGR, & WetMan

    Your comments are spot on… May very well suffice for the commuter travelling less than 50 miles one way, but best hope you don’t forget your wallet or house keys, cause at some point you will have passed the rubicon. Definitely won’t work for a weekend machine…

    @Bill & Tessier

    I tend to to agree, it looks like the ass of a Michael Bay Transformer… As for the Spocket, “someone should write Zero, and tell them to extensively test that bike before they sell it..!” –LoL

  23. TRL says:

    Agree with Bill, looks like ass.

    Nothing to do with supermoto styling or performance. It’s just bad design and bad design sucks.

    It is a business after all and ugly moto doesn’t sell well. Then again, CX500, late model Katana and anything by Roland Sands or OCC….maybe they are on to something…..

  24. Thinks are looking up for electric motorcycles http://t.co/UMiD4o1N Not my cup of tea, yet.

  25. Damo says:

    @TRL

    Not to get off topic, but I am totally with you on the Roland Sands thing. To this day I have no idea why anyone likes his design style. The Desmo Dirt Tracker with the “wizard hat” tail section was just the icing on the cake.

  26. protomech says:

    @Wetman

    The S should be around 85% efficient battery-to-wheel. 75 mph is the rated sustained speed of the bike, initial owner reports are 35+ miles at 75 mph. Range goes up substantially at lower speeds, and vice versa if you burst to vmax..

    @A&R

    You’ll be hard-pressed to make the trip. 60 miles on I-880 and CA-17 freeway speeds are the dealbreakers. You can probably make the trip on side streets at no more than 45 mph.

  27. Thinks are looking up for electric motorcycles http://t.co/g5khYcif Not my cup of tea, yet.